Sitting in a clinic waiting room – waiting for test results – is definitely not my idea of a good time.
It tends to put many things into perspective, once you’ve navigated around that rock of sick dread, squatting on your chest.
So many emotions swirling around my system.
Fear, embarrassment, shame, and a healthy dose of self-hatred.
My head full of questions, monsters forming where answers fail to exist – I can’t help feeling like my life is about to change in some fundamental way.
Yes, I’m dreading the outcome – positive or negative, for your favourite STI – but I’m also feeling something else.
If I had to put words to it, I’d call it a “fear of loss”.
This appointment today could mean the end of the fairytale.
The one where you meet the eyes of a stranger across a crowded room and wonder if he could be the one to end this crowded-room life forever.
The one where you marvel at each other’s perfection and prowess and no words need to be spoken until the next morning.
The fairytale where you don’t have to stop the flow to discuss that STI you contracted that will not only mean “no sex tonight” but a change in the way you’re intimate with each other for, possibly, years ahead. What ‘Prince Charming’ is going to sign up for THAT story?
If the test is negative, I can go back to living in the dream – the one where I exist as a single man trying to be someone else’s fairytale while searching for my own.
If the test is positive, what then?
Sex, connection, trust, fear, rejection, suspicion – it all explodes and then implodes, and I have to handle that fairyfuckingtale-slasher – HONESTY – in all its knife-edged forms.
Of course, we’re not always looking for ‘the one’ but to even consider being vulnerable, owning my past in front of someone who looks like Mr Right, even if he isn’t – surely that destroys the carefully constructed mist we have across our eyes and sends us crashing into a reality where responsibility, actually looking after ourselves, each other – comes into stark relief?
That’s enough to make anyone go all flaccid.
But what can you do?
Roll up the tent and call it quits – never to cruise again?
Put the “Do not Disturb” sign on your door while the virus flares up and hope no one notices?
Or take a deep breath and have that nail-on-chalkboard conversation?
And can I actually take that leap? Strip myself down to my flaws, shaking like a leaf; look him in the eye and hope for the best?
I mean, what’s the worst that could happen? Rejection?
I keep forgetting I don’t do very well with that.
I guess you gotta do it with someone you can trust, then – someone you get to know, who could potentially care a bit more than expected.
That would be a very small percentage of the people I could meet up with right now, to be totally honest.
I’d have to rethink everything about who I let in the door from this point on – if I’ve tested positive, that is.
But maybe that’s not a bad thing to do anyway.
Dax Lambert is a contributing writer for Anova Health Institute. These are his views, which may or may not reflect those of Anova and its affiliates.